We had to admit that we were sincerely jeopardizing our kids cool factor by taking them out of the suburbs they had grown up in. Like all wild animals, we knew that it would be impossible to return them to their natural habitat once they grew accustomed to living elsewhere. What would happen to our free thinking, long haired, trash talking boys in a super conservative Christian school? And, would they ever be able to relate to their own kind again? Were our kids doomed to a lifetime of wearing too-short shorts and tucked in polos? Would they ever know pop culture and hip music? Or would they become hopelessly enthralled with mariachi and entangled in the tawdry stories of the telenovelas? Who could say. It was a risk we would have to take.
14 months into our Latin American life, I can tell you this much: My children are the coolest missionary kids I have ever met. True, they are different from other kids their age. They know that a visa is not a credit card, they complain in two languages, and they occasionally ask about the current exchange rate. But, at the same time they are remarkably "normal" - they're obsessed with video games, they wish they could eat McDonalds three times a day, and they use borderline bad words ("freakin", "hecka" , and "what the crap") when they think I can't hear them.
It seems they've struck a balance. They are neither spoiled material driven suburbanites, nor ultra unrelateable religious freaks. They have learned to walk the line between the pleated polyester school uniforms they wear in the morning and the plaid chinos they change into each afternoon. They are learning Romans 12:18 by living it. "If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
I may be raising nerd kids, kids that take an interest in foreign policy, kids that have opinions about creation vs intelligent design, kids that don't have access to the newest electronics or hottest playlists. But, if that means that they are growing into men who will be able to hold tightly to their convictions while also being peacemakers in the world around them, I am more than satisfied.